The other day, I tweeted about what it took to be a paralegal:
1. Excellent Writing Skills (check – well, excellent in my own mind, I suppose).
2. Research Skills (I do have a knack for finding things, I must say).
3. Communication Skills (which I learned in college – in fact I was so successful in arguing FOR legalizing marijuana, my teacher had to ask me to insert “for medicinal purposes” just so I wouldn’t warp a bunch of young minds).
Shortly after I published my tweet, another person responded by adding to my list:
“One more: Ability to work with slime all day.”
My first thought was, well, I can’t publish my first thought, but my second thought was, “Gee. I hope I don’t end up working for a slimy lawyer.”
But then the argumentative part of my brain said, “Just what constitutes a slimy lawyer? Someone who chases ambulances? (Which is an ethics violation, by the way. I didn’t learn that from my paralegal class, but from the lawyer we retained after Kevin’s accident), or someone who is only after the big bucks and to hell with anyone who gets in the way?”
Lawyers are always given a bad rap, until you need one. And then? Thank God for them. Because without lawyers, our rights would be trampled and there would be nothing stopping people from taking advantage of each other. Yes. Of course. There are slimy lawyers out there, willing to do anything or work for anyone, just so they can buy that BMW, but I’m betting they’re the minority, not the majority, and I hope I end up working for someone who uses the law to help people, not use people for their own personal gains.
There are bad apples in every industry and I think it’s unfair to lump one group of people into one rotting cart. I want to pursue paralegalism because it interests me. And I think it would be challenging, not to mention sharpen my own writing skills.
And if I end up helping people along the way, that’s definitely a perk.
However, I’m not naive enough to think that that will always be the case. I’m sure there will be cases where I dislike the client, or I dislike the reasons the client is suing, or I don’t think the client is acting in a very ethical way, but we’re a nation of laws, someone has to uphold them. Someone has to represent the people, what I think really doesn’t matter.
I can’t really explain why I want to do this, it’s just something I’ve always wanted to try. And I reached a point in my life where I’m tired of talking about it, I’m ready to DO something about it.
I finished lesson three tonight (I’m now three lessons behind, though two more lessons will be assigned on Wednesday and Friday – I WILL get caught up!!), and part of the lesson was to list the specialized areas of law that might interest us.
Here is what I wrote:
- Banking Law (I have experience in banking and I hope that would give me an edge if I pursued that specialty – also, I find it interesting).
- Bankruptcy Law (I have very strong feelings about bankruptcy, ones that I would find it difficult to keep to myself, which appeals to me – the challenge of handling the whole issue).
- Though I think Corporate Law would be challenging, I’m not willing to work that many hours or travel across the country in order to work the field.
- Criminal Law would be EXCITING. And SCARING. But EXCITING. I’m not sure I’m tough enough to handle the details required for this field. But I would be tempted.
- Family Law – definitely.
- Judicial Administration – first-hand look at how the courts function.
- ** Law Office Administration – I have management experience as well, so combining the challenge of managing people with the challenge of this field would be exhilarating, I think.
- Litigation (Civil)
The one that really floats my boat is: Law Office Administration.
The legal administrator manages the planning, marketing (ugh), and business functions, as well as the overall operations of a law office.
I’m not sure why this sector appeals to me so much, maybe it’s my need to control everything (and I work great under pressure, not to mention, I sort of thrive on juggling several balls at once), but it just sounds fun to me.
That probably says a lot about my personality, I bet.
Close seconds? Family Law and Judicial Administration.
Family Law deals with, well, family issues and I think specifically working to help children and abused women would be especially rewarding for me.
Judicial administration is:
Most courts have clerks to help with the administrative aspects of deciding cases. In addition, a few courts have paralegals that work for the court. they perform some of the functions of the administrative clerks, such as determining whether the parties have been properly notified of trial dates, checking filings and proposed orders from attorneys to determine whether anything appears inappropriate or premature, or obtaining additional information for a judge.
It would be like being a fly on the wall – I think I would enjoy that, actually.
Okay fine, I would pretty much enjoy all of the areas I’ve listed (though I’d wager Banking and Bankruptcy would require a bit more travel than I would like) – I just think the whole field is interesting. The thought of researching, writing, analyzing … I dig that stuff.
I’m not sure Kevin is taking this new pursuit seriously. I mean, it IS a lot to swallow, and I’m definitely biting off more than I can chew, but honestly? I want to try it.
I’m ready, and serious, about switching roles here. I’m more than ready to don a business suit and get back out into the working world; it’s been too long. And I know Kevin would love nothing more than to be a stay-at-home dad – cleaning house, cooking, working on his projects (because he’s always doing something).
I mean, why not? The man has worked his ass off for us for the past 20 some odd years. He deserves some down time. He deserves a stress-free environment for once.
He’s for the idea, but knowing him, it won’t last long. He’s already chomping on the bit and I’ve caught him looking at want ads quite a few times.
But we’ve both reached a point in our lives that we can do something different. This is what I want to try. Kevin hasn’t decided what he wants to do yet – he might go back to accounting, he might try something different. It’s totally his decision and I’ll support whatever he decides.
All I know is this: I’m going to try this and I hope I succeed at it.